In Pinellas County, specifically the beaches along the barrier islands from Clearwater Beach, St Pete Beach, the housing market is strong and prices continue to rise.
Start searching for your next home, you may be able to buy now, before prices and/or interest rates go up.
Fewer first-time home buyers are jumping into the housing market nowadays, accounting for 34 percent of all buyers in July. While that percentage has inched up slightly as of late, it still remains far from the 40 percent levels first-time home buyers generally account for in the housing market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
With ultra low mortgage rates and high housing affordability, first-time home buyers may never have a better time to jump into the housing market. But several factors are keeping them on the sidelines.
One of the biggest obstacles? Saving for the down payment, according to recent home buyer surveys. The second-biggest hurdle cited was poor credit history, which was making it difficult for first-timers to qualify for a mortgage. A high unemployment rate among younger adults — who often make up the biggest group of first-timers — is also holding many back. Also, first-time home buyers, who need financing for their home purchase, are increasingly losing out to investors who are willing to pay entirely in cash.
Housing experts say that first-time home buyers are a critical component for a sustainable housing recovery.
“First-time buyers are vital to boosting sales, especially during downturns, since when they buy a home, they aren’t also selling a previous home to finance the purchase,” according to MarketWatch.
Source: “Fewer Home Buyers Are First-Timers,” MarketWatch (Aug. 22, 2012)
Any homes 30 years or older, will be required to have a passing 4 point inspection after September 1, 2012. This means that any home built in 1982 or earlier, and closing after September 1st must have and pass the additional inspection.
What does 4 point inspection mean?
The 4-point means that the inspector will examine the home to make sure that it is up to code. It covers the main four points in a home:
Plumbing Electrical Roof HVAC
Other insurance companies have asked for this inspection for many years, so this is not going to be a surprise for many people.
Fixed-rate mortgages once again inched up this week, the third consecutive week of increases after reaching all-time lows, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.
“The latest economic indicators point toward low inflation but gradually stronger economic activity which placed further upward pressure on long-term Treasury yields and, in turn, fixed mortgage rates,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said about why mortgage rates have been reversing course in recent weeks.
Here’s a closer look at mortgage rates for the week ending Aug. 16:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.62 percent, with an average 0.6 point, this week, increasing from last week’s 3.59 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.15 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.88 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 2.84 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.36 percent.
- 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.76 percent, with an average 0.6 point, falling slightly from last week’s 2.77 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.08 percent.
- 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.69 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.65 percent average. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.86 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac/Realtor Mag
January is an exciting month for Real Estate. This month’s BestHouses2go.com visitors are motivated home buyers and they get busy searching, meeting with me and finding homes to buy as soon as Christmas is past.
Here’s how real estate market conditions across our coverage area closed 2011:
Median list price peaked in May and drifted back down to January 2011 levels by December;
interest rates managed to go even lower with 30 year rates below 4% for much of the month of December (rate history).
November sales volume was down versus October, but sales are still on track to be slightly higher in 2011 versus 2010 (NAR report). Also, NAR reported that they’ve been overstating home sales for the last 4 years – their adjustment to correct the report brought stated home sales from 1997 to Nov. 2011 down by as much as 20% in some months. We all knew it was bad, these changes just emphasize how bad;
MBA’s purchase loan index continues to scrape along at late 1990’s levels as December added to a string of slow months (Mortgage Bankers Assoc. Data From Calculated Risk);
Finally, inventory bottomed in November and showed a small increase in December.
December marks the last month of the seasonal end of the year market slowdown. What will 2012 bring? We think more of the same – inventory, prices and sales volumes will show a typical seasonal increase from now through May or June, but overall transaction volumes and prices will probably be little changed over the year.
WE’VE REACHED BOTTOM, prices are going up in my area, but they are not going to climb very high in 2012.
IN PINELLAS COUNTY ACTIVE INVENTORY IS AT A 6 YEAR LOW WITH JUST OVER 24% OF THE 7,931 ACTIVE LISTINGS BEING DISTRESSED. OF THE 1,927 DISTRESSED LISTINGS, 1,596 ARE SHORT SALES AND 331 ARE FORECLOSURES.
I will send your specific market area stats upon request.
One Forecaster Calls “The End of the US Housing Downturn”
Capital Economics analyst Paul Dales recently called 2011 the last year of the US housing downturn. Capital Economics forecast a 3% drop in home prices in 2011 and the actual Case-Schiller number will be around 2.3% and is showing signs of flattening. After recapping 2011 results, he says 2012 will be mostly sideways. “… for the first time in five years, months of unsold inventory (a measure of the balance between demand and supply) is almost in line with the long-term average…” They believe the biggest risk to the housing market is a melt down in Europe. Not too encouraging that we have to hope the Germans, Italians and French can all get along.
People with cash. From a recent Mortgage News Daily newsletter: “2011 has seen a surprisingly high level of cash home purchases, according to the real estate research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. Analysts say tight lending standards and a search for yield by investors … has driven all cash purchases of homes higher. Per the report, 38% of homes purchased in 2011 were bought with all cash, up from 34% in 2010, and double the 19% rate in 2006.” The cash purchase trend is driven by the strength of rental demand and rents. In some parts of the country, a cash investor can realize 7-10% annual return from a fully rented unit.
Thanks for visiting BestHouses2Go.com in 2011 and I hope to see you on the site and to help you buy a home in 2012. Interest rates and prices will continue to be favorable for buyers in 2012.
If your finances are ready, make the resolution to buy your dream home or invest in Real Estate this year.